This past semester, I was placed at the Boston College Campus School for Community Clinical, where I began to develop and implement my community health project. At the Campus School, a majority of the children are non-verbal, which presents a problem especially since many of these children get admitted to the hospital to get procedures done as a result of their various medical complications. Given this predicament, I addressed this issue by making a booklet for the non-verbal child in the hospital setting, particularly geared to those without a parental figure present during a hospitalization. By making an “About Me” medical book for each child prepping for admission, it will hopefully improve the health for this specific population of children in a variety of ways. It is very difficult for a practicing nurse or doctor to distinguish how the child is feeling; unless they personally knew the child in regards to the way they individually react to pain.
The most rewarding experience I had while creating this project was the opportunity to converse with a mother of a non-verbal child who had been through many hospitalizations. She gave me the insight and the inspiration to make this book for the Campus School students. After talking for a bit, she began to tell me more about her son’s hospitalization and how the little things she did truly impacted his disposition through his medical journey. For example, to prepare her child before a painful procedure, she would play classical music for him. Classical music meant he was in a safe place and that no pain would come to him. Before this student’s mother had the idea to do this, the doctors and nurses would perform uncomfortable procedures without preparation because they assumed he would not understand if the procedures were explained to him.
It all goes to illustrate that even though a patient is non-verbal, it does not mean they should not be prepped any less than anybody else or that they should be given any less treatment. The non-verbal handicapped child is just as much of a person as any of us and enjoys the same things we all do, such as laughing and spending time with loved ones. Overall, I had an amazing time at this placement especially when given the opportunity to interact with the students. I was able to observe firsthand how much they all love to laugh and smile, even when they had to go through uncomfortable medical treatments. All in all, the experiences and interactions I had at Campus School will stay with me for the rest of my life and will be referred to during my time in the field of nursing.